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South Korea And France Join Forces For Space Climate Observatory

An artist’s impression of KOMPSAT-5. Image courtesy of the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

On the sidelines of a state visit to France by South Korean President Moon Jae-In, the French National space agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) signed a letter of intent committing all parties to developing the Space Climate Observatory (SCO).

This agreement, signed 15 October 2018 in Paris,  provides for new bilateral activities and boosts CNES’s commitment to tackling climate change.

The signing follows a meeting between the three agencies on 2 July 2018 in Seoul, where CNES presented the SCO to its partners.

CNES has made tackling climate change one of its priorities, and it is working to federate the world’s space players around the SCO, an initiative launched at the One Planet Summit last December, to share space data, thus helping to understand and measure the impacts of climate change as a way to help combat it.

In the letter of intent, the three agencies expressed their desire to work together to set up the infrastructure for the SCO and to supply the observatory with satellite data about oceans, land surfaces, and ecosystems.

France and South Korea have been working together successfully in space for over 30 years. France has regularly supported the development of South Korea’s space programme by building satellites, designing scientific instruments and equipment, and providing launch services. Since the early 2000s, CNES has been involved in the development of KARI’s Earth-observing satellites as well as the design and management of its launch facilities and the rollout of its KASS satellite navigation system.

“I am delighted to see this new milestone in France-South Korea space cooperation in the field of climate, which is a major focus of our partnership with KARI and KMA, in particular their commitment to implementing the Space Climate Observatory,” Jean-Yves Le Gall, CNES president, said after the signing. “Today’s signature bodes well for the third France-South Korea space forum to be held in South Korea in the spring of next year.”

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